TRANS ATLANTIC BATTLE

September 25, 2018

Whether you support the United States, Europe or another team, Robert Bicknell argues there’s nothing like international competition and the fierce battle for supremacy to deliver some amazing golf.

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When it comes to multi-format golf tournaments, one automatically thinks of the Ryder Cup and for good reason – it’s been going on for a very long time, since 1927 to be exact.

At present, the US holds a record of 25- 12-2, but that is a bit misleading as many of those wins were pre-1983 and were against England only. During those early years England only won three times and tied once.

However, once Team England became Team Europe, competition became fierce with Team Europe holding a 9-1-5 record and showing no fear of the US.

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The powers that be, probably the US, decided if one Ryder Cup was a good thing, then two would be even better, ergo The Presidents Cup was launched in 1994.

Like the Ryder Cup, the format is pretty much the same, except its Team USA versus the rest of the world except Europe (i.e. Asia, Africa, Central and South America, Oceania, Mexico and Canada) and out of the last 12 President’s Cup events, the US has won 11 and tied 1.

This probably takes the sting out of Europe kicking butts pretty regularly since 1985.

To be quite honest, I have had mixed feelings about the Ryder Cup ever since the US team made a spectacle of themselves with rude antics from the fans, organizers trying to add a war-like feeling to the event, aka “War By The Shore”, Army camouflage uniforms.

C’mon people, the Ryder Cup is a golf tournament – not combat, alright?

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But mostly it’s the fans which ruin it for me. Their antics would be better suited for an American football match than a golf tournament. Golfers are supposed to be ladies and gentlemen, not drunk, obnoxious jingoists booing and hissing at the other side.

It’s embarrassing and I’m American. What the US fans did to poor Mrs Doubtfire, er… Colin Montgomerie was beyond the pale. Say what you will, Monty was a superstar when it came to Ryder Cup time.

I was raised that “it’s not if you win or lose, but how you play the game” which matters and good sportsmanship is everything. Look, if someone beats me in any sport by being the better player, I’ll tip my hat and buy them a beer. On the other hand, if they’re cheats or poor sports then I’ll tip my hat and shake their hand afterwards, but I’ll never play with them again.

Golf is one sport where you really don’t have to worry too much about cheating because it would be too damn easy to do it, but the penalties and repercussions if caught don’t make it worth the trouble to do it.

But, yes, some people do cheat and we all know who they are.

I haven’t seen anything nearly as disrespectful during the President’s Cup matches. Oh, I’m sure there are a few boneheads wandering around with too much beer and not enough brain cells. They’re the ones screaming: “Get in the hole” when a player is driving on a Par 5.

Idiots.

Nonetheless, the benefits for both the Ryder Cup and President’s Cup is that it allows the fans to see the big name players in a different format than just Stroke Play. It also allows the big names to enjoy playing different formats and have a little fun.

I have always maintained that Team Europe wins the Ryder Cup more often simply because it is having fun. It trains like a team, it eats together and hit the bars and get polluted as a team.

In short, they’re having a ball just hanging out together.

The US team, on the other hand, is a bunch of superstars who are too busy meeting their agents, sponsors and managers instead of hanging out and having fun.

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If you look at the two different websites, pgatour.com and europeantour.com, you will see the difference almost immediately. Team Europe has a lot of wacky videos of the players trying to hit a gong in the water at 200 yards, exploding a barrel of gunpowder on a floating barge, and stuff like that. And the guys are having a ball with it. They act just like kids.

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That’s what golf is supposed to be – fun. Not walking around with a facial expression of someone who just sucked a bag of lemons.

So, regardless of which team you support, be it the USA, Europe or Internationals, you can be sure of one thing – a lot of amazing golf shots and getting to see how much fight there really is in a player.

Because, nobody wants to let their team down.

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